Why pancreatic cancer will become more of a concern in the future

Presse Santé

This high rate is explained by the inability to treat this cancer correctly when diagnosed at an advanced stage, which is often the case. Indeed this cancer is characterized by a silent progression, without obvious symptoms, and it quickly metastases. When the first warning signs appear (jaundice, weight loss, fatigue, pain in the abdomen or back), the cancer has already spread to local tissues (liver, lymph nodes). It is too late to be removed by surgery.

Why are there more pancreatic cancers

Another troubling aspect of pancreatic cancer is that many experts predict that its effects may worsen over the next few years. In addition, this disease may become the second leading cause of cancer death by 2030. A recent article summarizes the main factors behind this upward trend:

Obesity and diabetes

Historically, smoking is the main lifestyle factor associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer (the risk is doubled in smokers). With the drastic reduction in the number of smokers, we should reasonably expect to see the incidence of pancreatic cancer drop rapidly. In the same way to the constant decrease in lung cancers observed in the last fifteen years. Unfortunately, these benefits have been offset by skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, which are also major risk factors for pancreatic cancer.

Better identify cancer cells

The constant improvement of diagnostic tools (high-resolution imaging, sensitive genetic and biochemical tests) means that it is now possible to determine the origin of cancer cells with great precision. Tumors that were once classified as of unknown origin can be identified and found to be of pancreatic origin.

Improving the effectiveness of the treatment of many diseases

The discovery and development of new drugs has led to dramatic reductions in death rates from breast, prostate and colon cancer. Unfortunately, these advances have not been equally successful for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. As a result, an increasing proportion of cancer-related deaths will affect patients with this cancer.

More obesity, more cancer

Excess fat represents a neurological condition associated with chronic inflammation. The release of many growth factors and important metabolic disturbances which, in turn, promote the development of many types of cancer. Regarding pancreatic cancer, studies show that people who are obese in early adulthood (20-49 years) are 150% more likely to be attacked by pancreatic cancer.

How to prevent pancreatic cancer

Avoid drinking: maintaining a healthy weight and reducing your consumption of red meat and processed meat in favor of vegetable protein sources are the best known ways to limit the progression of these microtumors and prevent the development of cancer pancreas This is more important as we are at high risk of developing this cancer. Because autopsies performed on people who died for reasons other than cancer revealed that 75% of the population had previous lesions in the pancreas.

The sources

Rahib L et al. Projecting cancer incidence and mortality to 2030: the unprecedented burden of thyroid, liver, and pancreatic cancers in the United States. Cancer Res. Year 2014; 74:2913–2921.

Wallis C. Why is pancreatic cancer increasing. Scientific American, April 1, 2018. merican.com/article/why-pancreatic-cancer-is-on-the-rise/

Li et al. Body mass index, age of onset, and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. JAMA 2009; 301: 2553-2562.

Cubilla AL and PJ Fitzgerald. Skin lesions associated with primary human invasive non-endocrine pancreatic cancer. Cancer Res. Year 1976; 36:2690-8.

* blokus strives to spread health knowledge in a language accessible to all. IN NO EVENT, THE INFORMATION GIVEN CANNOT REPLACE THE OPINION OF A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.
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